Dick BavettaHere’s a story that’s been bouncing around the rumor mill all summer, and now it’s official: longtime NBA referee Dick Bavetta has decided to call it quits, hanging up his whistle after 39 years and 2,635  consecutive regular season games. Bavetta, whose NBA career began on December 2, 1975, also officiated 270 playoff games and 27 Finals games. Along the way, Bavetta was involved in some of the more infamous games and moments in NBA history. He was there for the wild Dr. J-Larry Bird fight in 1984, working alone because his partner was injured (the NBA only assigned two referees to games back then). He was part of the three-man crew that awarded the Phoenix Suns 64 free throws in Game 7 of the 1993 Western Conference Finals. And, perhaps most infamously of all, was part of the three-man crew for the controversial Game 6 of the 2002 Western Conference Finals.

Fans got to know Bavetta on a more personal level in 2007, when he accepted a challenge from Charles Barkley to a footrace at halftime of the All-Star Game in Las Vegas. Barkley, who was involved in that famous Dr. J-Bird fight as a rookie, won the race (albeit in awkward fashion), after which he and Barkley shared a tender moment.

Dick Bavetta[BSO]